2012 Subaru Outback brakes NHTSA complaints: Service Brakes

NHTSA — Service Brakes Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,811 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2012 Subaru Outback brakes problems

brakes problem

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2012 Subaru Outback Owner Comments

problem #10

Apr 152016


  • 60,000 miles


When the brakes are applied and the car comes to a stop light or stop sign, the engine shuts off ('stalls when idling or slowing down'). the vehicle then must be put into 'park' mode in order to re-start. This occurs nearly everyday of the week, and has created many, many dangerous situations for us and the drivers around us. We took the vehicle to the dealership in may concerning this issue, and they stated that they had not heard of this problem, and that nothing was wrong with the vehicle. We took the vehicle in for service again this week, and the dealership mentioned that a technical service bulletin had been issued for this problem. The tsb was apparently issued in Jan 2014, but customers were not notified in spite of the fact that the defect poses dire saftey risks. We are bewildered given that this item is clearly a recall-worthy defect that places the vehicle owner, and the cars around them, in foreseeable and considerable danger. We are very concerned that other customers are also being told by the dealership and manufacturer that there is 'nothing wrong with their vehicle' in spite of the tsb issued in Jan '14. A cynical person might conclude that an effort is being made to obfuscate this safety defect until customer's warranties run out. Similarly, the manufacturers tsb language appears to obfuscate the defect with euphemistic language. To be clear --- the vehicle shuts off in the middle of the road when slowing down for a stop light or stop sign. It would appear that an effort is being made to avoid a recall. According to the tsb, Subaru modified production in October 2013 to account for and cure this safety issue. Again, customers ho were sold vehicles with the safety defect hav not been notified.

- Gilroy, CA, USA

problem #9

Jun 232016


  • 87,000 miles
I purchased vehicle brand new, over the course of 4 years have had no problems until brake master went bad after 2 and a half years, oil not lasting until the next oil change and finally the head gasket. The vehicle's A/C died and was taken to the mechanic, he found the compressor had gone. We ordered a new one. Took the vehicle out the next day to return it to mechanic and in route, the vehicle began smoking profusely and died on the road 2 minutes after it began smoking. The vehicle is then towed to mechanic to find that the oil and coolant were mixing, the vehicle overheated and damaged head gasket. This make & model has also been found to have issues with "faulty brake masters & leaking oil leading to coolant and head gasket" issues. No recall, safety or advisement information has ever been sent or corresponded to us regarding this matter. There is however an open class action suit in New Jersey for the issue of leaking oil and cooling issues.

- Danbury, CT, USA

problem #8

May 152016


  • 39,120 miles
On May 15th, while driving on a city street, dashboard warning lights came on indicating "brake" and "check engine". took it to a Subaru dealer in berlin ct who found the following: "trouble code P0171/system to lean bank 1, fault traced and found vacuum leak around brake booster check valve. Vacuum valve cracked. Recommend replacing brake booster assembly". this vehicle has only 39,120 miles. This part is well protected within the engine area. Service repair described the part as a small plastic piece and stated he's never seen this happen before. To my way of thinking, the part had to be defective when the engine was built. Car was never in an accident and has always been maintained by Subaru dealers. Cost is a little over $700. I have the work order if you need it; but the wording above is directly from the order. Is there a way to start an investigation showing this is a manufacturers fault" is there any way I can force Subaru to pay for this"

- Hebron, NH, USA

problem #7

Nov 242015


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Subaru Outback. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the brake pedal was depressed and hesitated to respond without warning. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the ABS master cylinder was fractured and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000. The VIN was not available.

- Pittsfield, MA, USA

problem #6

Apr 132011


  • 91,982 miles
While driving with cruise control engaged, suddenly the cruise control disengaged, the brake warning light and the ABS warning light came on. The required repair was only the forward oxygen sensor, a non-emergency repair. Yet cruise control and ABS were disabled, ABS being an important safety feature. I was told Subaru has purposely programed the car this way. Not only was I unable to make a decision as to the critical nature of the actual repair but had an important safety feature disabled unnecessarily.

- Duluth, MN, USA

problem #5

Aug 302013


  • 12 miles
Recall wvy-35 applies to some 2012 Subaru Outbacks. My 2012 Subaru Outback has this difficulty yet is not part of the recall. Since I purchased the car the brake pedal has been soft and mushy. I need to press the pedal very hard for a long distance almost to the floor of the car to stop the vehicle. The stopping distance as a result is often much longer than expected. This is the exact problem identified in the recall below. I have brought this into my Subaru dealer service center and I am told the brakes are operating normally, but they are not. Subaru corporate headquarters tells me that my 2012 Outback is not part of the recall. Recall wvy-35 seems not to apply to very may cars and for Outbacks is narrowly focused on dates of manufacture spanning only 36 days, when it clearly relates to a faulty master cylinder used in those cars and my car is affected but is not recalled. Why isn't this recall more broad and relate to all cars with these master cylinders. We're talking about brakes here. Do people have to die before bad brake systems are repaired? recall wvy-35 is cut and pasted below: Subaru is recalling certain model year 2012 impreza sedans and wagons (except WRX/sti models), manufactured from April 21, 2011, through November 15, 2011, and legacy and Outback vehicles manufactured from October 17, 2011, through November 23, 2011. These vehicles may be equipped with a brake master cylinder that could malfunction and cause an increase in the amount of brake pedal travel distance required to slow or stop the vehicle. Consequence: The driver might misjudge the amount of brake pedal travel required to achieve the desired stopping distance. This could occur unexpectedly and without prior warning, increasing the risk of a crash.

- Millburn, NJ, USA

problem #4

Nov 182014


  • 21,000 miles


Rear brake pads needed replaced at 21000 miles( highly unusual wear). Front pads at 50%--rear pads less than 10%. requested dealer to replace pads and rotors. They refused to replace rotors and informed me that all they would do would be resurface rotors and replace pads. Work order states that rotors were resurfaced. Inspection of rotors after, determined that the rotors had not been resurfaced. I suggested to dealer to check ABS and ebd system to determine if they bias of the brakes was correct due to the unusually low mileage on rear pads and normal wear on front pads.they refused to check this and now the rear brakes are making a grinding noise.

- Bergholz, OH, USA

problem #3

Jul 212014


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Subaru Outback. When the vehicle was taken to the dealer for a routine inspection, the mechanic discovered that all four brakes were rusted and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was taken to three other mechanics who did not indicate that the brakes needed replacing. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle stalled and was towed to a mechanic. The mechanic stated that someone unplugged and misplaced the wiring under the hood and the clip was fractured. The contact was informed that the clip needed to be replaced and the wires re-adjusted. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 44,000. Updated 9/18/14 updated 02/12/2015

- Wolcott, VT, USA

problem #2

Jul 182012


  • 2,000 miles
I have had the car a little over a year and have had trouble with the brakes since the beginning. Several times upon cold startup the brakes barely work. Not always but frequently. I have to use both feet to push the pedal down to the floor and it travels several feet before stopping. I have brought it to the dealers attention several times, this last time, pushing them to keep the car to duplicate the results. They told me they could not find any problems with it and suggest that I warm the car up before moving it. I was not satisfied with that answer, T it is a safety issue, and suggest they take it higher up the chain. They kept it for a few more days and was able to duplicate the problem with my car and several on their lot. They tell me it is not a safety issue and it is just the way the car handles. The Subaru national tech was out of the state and they told me they could not keep my car any longer to wait on the tech.they are closing the order and told me to come pick up my car at my convenience. I told them I was not satisfied and that I considered it a safety concern. They said I could pay extra and have some other brake options but on, but that the way it performs now is the way it is designed. Just in my driveway I could easily go over the hillside or hurt someone if the car would behave that way at an inopportune moment.

- Evergreen , CO, USA

problem #1

Jan 282012

Outback 6-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
Drove down a short hill under icy road conditions. Vehicle accelerated toward the bottom of the hill. Applied brakes but the anti-lock system did not work to stop the car. Luckily, did not crash into the approaching barrier. Had two (2) children with me. No one was injured. Told dealer about this and that there was a service bulletin. Was told that they did not receive one from NHTSA.

- Middletown, CT, USA

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